This Sunday, we will witness the highly anticipated England’s blue ribbon game as free-scoring Manchester City visit Merseyside. A titanic match looms at Anfield. Although the season is still in its infancy, the clash offers both teams the opportunity to claim bragging rights in England’s most prominent fixture in recent times.
Recent Head to Head
Their last five encounters see Liverpool with a slight edge of two wins to City’s solitary victory and two draws. The Reds, though, are most in need of a crucial three points, languishing 13 points behind their bitter rivals. If only to breathe life into their spluttering season.
It comes at a perfect time for the club’s faithful. On the back of a 7 – 1 thrashing of Glasgow Rangers in the Champions League. The game crucially involved a quick fire hattrick from club talisman Mohammed Salah. As a result, the forward has reinvigorated and is back to his lethal best.
Haaland – The X Factor
Erling Haaland is currently the hottest property in world football. His astonishing tally of 15 Premier Leagues is a cheat code. It makes a mockery of all the great strikers who have come before him. Expect him to continue this red-hot streak, aided by the genius of Kevin de Bruyne and the impish Phil Foden, with a knack for scoring crucial goals.
Standing in his way will be Virgil van Dijk, the fulcrum of all Liverpool’s recent success. A worrying dip in form has seen the usually reliable Dutchman far from his mercurial best. The Liverpool faithful will hold their collective breath, hoping their star regains his big-match temperament.
Liverpool’s Leaky Back Four
Injuries and a loss of form have robbed the Reds of their world-class defense. Jurgen Klopp will most likely be without Trent Alexander-Arnold through injury. This might be a blessing in disguise, as the English defender has been woefully out of form.
With Ibrahim Konate also missing, the Liverpool manager has to be bold and creative with his selections. That is if they harbor any hope of halting the juggernaut, Manchester City. No matter what formation they line up with, we can expect a busy night for the Brazilian shot-stopper, Allison.
City’s Incredible Squad Depth
The Citizens will have the definite edge in this tie, given their incredible squad. Pep Guardiola has a plethora of attacking options if Liverpool somehow manages to stifle Haaland. The wily Spaniard has attacking midfielders in Jack Grealish, Bernardo Silva, and the evergreen Riyadh Mahrez, all of whom are capable of being matchwinners on that day. He also has the luxury of a new forward, Julian Alvarez, who is hungry to make his mark in this campaign.
Guardiola should be wary of tinkering too much, as it could affect the fluidity and balance of his team. One only has to remember the 2021 Champions League campaign, where City was the overwhelming favorite, only to be undone by some curious selections by the manager.
The Highly Anticipated England’s Blue Ribbon Game
Whatever the result, the occasion should be a sumptuous feast for all neutral football-loving fans. It is more likely going to be a case of the old versus the new, whether Haaland continues his assault on English football or Liverpool’s old warhorse, Roberto Firmino summoning one last chapter in his remarkable Anfield tale. Sunday cannot come soon enough.